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Names Not Numbers, New York

Web Foundation · June 22, 2011

I’m on the train from New York City to Boston, after participating in the Names Not Numbers conference on 20 and 21 June. Editorial Intelligence, under the energetic leadership of founder Julia Hobsbawm, has organized these events in the UK for some time, and this was her first event in the US.   Most of the largely fascinating sessions focused on individualism in a mass age, looking mainly from the perspectives of the media, business, politics and arts, in the US and UK.

Julia invited me to speak about the “Internet and Power” — a talk made better through the expert facilitation of Derek Wyatt, whose credits range from being a Member of Parliament to Internet visionary.  To complement other sessions, I focused on the potential power of the Web in the developing world — where that power is needed most.  My goal was that people would leave understanding more about the Web on which much of their creative and business work relies, and that that they must become actively engaged to ensure that the Web is free, open and empowering to everyone on the planet.

Lots of good sessions (including, among others, Ken Auletta, Clemency Burton-Hill, Caryn Mandabach, Jordan Roth, Pat Mitchell, Seth Godin, PJ Crowley, Peter York, and a heart-wrenching preview of an upcoming documentary by Abigail Disney on Women, War and Peace).  Great conversations with people I’ll be meeting again, I hope.  I also had the pleasure of speaking (and sharing a taxi) with Financial Times columnist, economist and stand-up comic Mrs. Moneypenny, who performed a mon0logue on her life that had the room rocking with laughter (and who also has referred to Names Not Numbers as  “Intellectual Viagra”).  The event as a whole was a very good show, as well.

The train is approaching Boston (this was officially published in Mansfield, MA).  If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to ask!


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